Thursday, September 25, 2008

TV By The Numbers ~ True Blood Luckier Than Moonlight

HBO’s ‘True Blood’ Renewed: Less Watched But Luckier Than ‘Moonlight”
by Robert Seidman

HBO announced it is renewing its new series True Blood after only two airings. Please note that where it says 4 million people have viewed the season premiere from September 7, HBO is counting the cumulative views of the first airing and all the re-airings of that episode. The premiere drew 1.4 million in its first airing and the second episode drew 1.8 million in its initial airing. Though the numbers are weak compared to the glory days of The Sopranos and Sex and the City, the growth for the second episode is impressive and HBO seems to like that people are actually watching the additional airings. HBO loves it some Alan Ball! I’m really looking forward to seeing how the True Blood/Entourage combo fares against Dexter and Californication starting September 28. Here’s the release from HBO:


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17, 2008 - HBO has renewed the new drama series TRUE BLOOD for a second season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, Programming Group and West Coast Operations. Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes early next year in Los Angeles, with debut set for summer 2009.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the critics and our viewers have embraced TRUE BLOOD,” noted Lombardo. “Alan Ball has done it again - made an addictive series that is unlike any other.”

“I am thrilled to be able to continue to work with such a talented group of writers, cast and crew to explore the characters and world created by Charlaine Harris in her novels,” Ball said. “It really is a joy to go to work every day and I couldn’t be happier to be back home at HBO.”

The Sept. 7 debut episode is proving to be a hit with HBO audiences, attracting more than four million viewers to date, while the debut of the second episode on Sept. 14 posted an unprecedented 24% gain in viewers over the first week’s debut.

Critics across the country in Detroit, Baltimore, Denver and Orlando have proclaimed TRUE BLOOD one of the best new shows on TV. USA Today called it “wildly imaginative,” with “one of the best ensembles of the new series,” while the Washington Post found it “audacious, outrageous and playfully grisly.” TV Guide hailed the show as “graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny,” and “a broadly entertaining, deliciously twisted slice of modern Southern Gothic.”

Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, TRUE BLOOD takes place in the not-too-distant future, when vampires have come out of the coffin, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood that means they no longer need humans for their fix. Set in a backwoods Louisiana town, the show follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), who can read minds, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (played by Stephen Moyer). Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy(R)-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under”) created and executive produced the show, as well as wrote and directed episodes of the series, which is based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

The cast also includes Ryan Kwanten as Sookie’s brother Jason, Rutina Wesley as her best friend Tara Thornton, Sam Trammell as Sookie’s good-hearted boss Sam Merlotte and Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds, a cook at Merlotte’s.


Anonymous said...

So, to review, True Blood has had less viewers than Moonlight did and the series was renewed after only 2 episodes ... True Blood was/is hugely promoted by HBO... HBO is really giving True Blood a chance! I am struck anew by the stupidity of the idiots at the Crap Broadcasting
Systems moronic decision to cancel Moonlight- even after all these months- it still boggles my mind...

Lyn said...

Yep - it sure does. And not to offend anyone, but I STILL don't like this show (I tried the second one because I was in a hotel and HBO was free - I won't be tuning in again).

I DO like the books, which I discovered in the strike-hiatus after Moonlight made me a potential vamp fan. I have read 7 since and have one more to go before I have read all the currently published Sookie/Bill/Eric/ etc novels.

First of all - if the series is "wildly imaginative" (critic quote) that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with either HBO or Alan Ball, but everything to do with Charlaine Harris, the author who created the concept, the characters and wrote the books.

Secondly, if the show is "graphically sexy" - HBO & Alan Ball CAN take all the credit for that. The books are sexy, for sure. More "lusty" really, playfully sexy and erotic in places. This show is nothing like that. The sex is gratuitous and spelled out crudely in scenes where the book only implies it.

Frankly - I am a Brit who has lived here for 20 years and don't pretend to understand "the South" - but if I was a southern person I would be highly offended by the protrayal of Southern people (vamp or human) almost exclusively as nasty, brutish and trailor trashy.

In the books, Sookie makes it clear that Bon Temps is a backwater and she is a product of it... but again it is done with taste and wry humor instead of drawn with the crude crayon strokes offered up by HBO/Alan Ball.

This SURE AIN'T Moonlight and it is a crying shame that it is considered suitable for renewal when Moonlight - who handled a similar subject with a much more delicate touch - was cancelled.

That said, those of you who like the show... take advice from me and try the books. I guarantee you will like them better and (like me) ALMOST as much as you liked Moonlight.

ps - still Kudos to HBO for having the guts CBS didn't to stick with something a little different.

cobby said...

I've watched TB and it is disgustingly watchable. It is crude, bordering pornographic, cartoonish and the "sets", well... they're just sets. I swear I can hear the echo of the sound stage when they speak their lines. I feel no heat between the 2 main characters and the coincidences of situations and sentences and words spoken are so familiar to Moonlight it always pisses me off.

However, with all that said I watch it....I think it's because I'm more curious than anything. It is so rough around the edges...almost like drinking grain alcohol, whereas Moonlight tasted like fine wine.

So sad that a piece of crap like TB has "made it" and my/our beloved Moonlight was cancelled!!!

I don't think I'll ever forgive CrapBS....EVER!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! CBS never gave Moonlight the right kind of promoting it needed! But after having 8 million viewers, you would think that they would have agreed to a second season. They would have probably seen those numbers rise even more. Look at how the networks are trying to redo old shows like Partridge Family, etc. Come on, don't you want to pay these writers and actors what their worth in order to keep good shows that you cancel after one season?!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I am sure you didn't mean for it to but your comment came off as condescending. I have read the southern vampire/Sookie Stackhouse book series AND I love the show True Blood. The two are not mutually exclusive. Most of the people I chat with about True Blood have also read the novels.

As we sadly learned with Moonlight, the writer of the book is often stabbed in the back or ends up being totally ignored when it is made into a television show. Charlaine Harris is very involved with True Blood and has said how happy she is with it.

I have seen time and again how Moonlight fans have said that our show did not have that much sex etc. THAT IS BECAUSE IT WAS ON CBS! If it had been on Showtime or HBO it would have been a different story. Alex O'Loughlin said that himself in more than one interview when asked how Moonlight would be different on cable. Alex said and I quote "there'd be a lot more blood, there'd be a lot more sex, there'd be a lot more everything!"

For those who continue to complain that True Blood and or Twilight has stolen anything from Moonlight, both the Twilight book series and the southern vampire book series were written long before Moonlight was even thought of.

I miss and LOVE Moonlight too but I do not compare every vampire movie, show, & book to it.

I'm sorry for being so long winded. I guess I had more to get off my chest than I realized. Sheepishly hangs head!!!!

You are all entitled to your own opinions and I do not mean to flame anyone just had to point out a few facts. Tamara

Lyn said...

Hey Tamara. I don't want to start a fight, because I love Kandye's site, we have all been "friends" here for a long time and I don't want to spoil that. But - I have to add a few facts of my own. First of all, (talking about being "condescending") do you imagine that Moonlight's fans aren't aware that there would have been more sex (and violence) if this had been on cable? Of course we all realize that and not only have we all heard Alex say it more than once, many of us said we would have liked a little more adult content. That said, I don't believe for a moment that it would have been done as crudely as it is on TB.

I don't think it is the sex in TB that is offending people (not just me, btw - take a look at some of the other write-ups on the web), but the crudity and gratuitous nature of the sex. That isn't present in the books... and if Charlaine Harris is happy with this portrayal of her work then that's fine - it doesn't make it any more palatable to a lot of the people who enjoyed both her books and Moonlight.

Secondly do you also think that Moonlight's fans don't understand that Moonlight came after both Twilight and Sookie?

Lastly, it seems you think we are all so one-dimensional that we don't like TB because it isn't Moonlight. I just don't like it because it is what it is.

Sorry - but look at the dialogue in #2 where Sookie goes to the house and the vampires from the "nest" are there. ALL of that was only implied in the book - not spelled out in that crude language and action.

If its condescending to be offended by crudity - well then I guess you better paint me condescending!

Anonymous said...

We agree on something!!! A little attempt at lightening the mood because I do not want to fight with anyone either. I love love love Kandyegirl and her blog!!!!!!

The only part of my comment directed to you Lyn was obviously in response to you implying that those of us who are fans of True Blood had not read the books. Your quote "That said, those of you who like the show... take advice from me and try the books."

That is what I found to be condescending which as I said I'm sure was not your intention. I was not refering to whether or not you found True Blood to be crude. I did not even mention that in my previous comment. That is your opinion and I think you are more than entitled to express it! We all are, even the fans who have written the other things I responded to.

I have personally read more times than I can count where Moonlight fans have said EXACTLY what I addressed in my previous comment. They have written that Moonlight would never have shown sex, had cuss words, some have included blood (which is very funny since we are talking about vampires) etc if it had aired on cable instead of CBS.

AND, I have read comments from Moonlight fans who have flat out stated that True Blood and Twilight have stolen from our show.

Finally, in lots of comments (some on this very blog) Moonlight fans have openly stated that they don't like True Blood and other vampire projects just because they are not Moonlight. That is directly from their own mouths. I did not make it up.

One went so far as to challenge Kandyegirl on her posting news for us about other vampire projects. Which I'm sure you will agree is out of line after everything Kandyegirl has done for the fans and Moonlight. (see the comments for the post "Video ~ How old are you?")

I would not have brought up any of this if I had not seen/read it myself.

So that is not condescension, it is addressing the comments I have read from many fellow Moonlight fans.

I really appreciate you writing back to me directly about this Lyn so that we could discuss it!!!! You are a very articulate & educated woman. Thank you for reading my thoughts on all of this. Tamara

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I like True Blood at all. Rome was a much better series. Moonlight A LOT better. Even that show, Blood Ties was better than True Blood.

Six Feet Under was great.

But so far, True Blood sucks. LAUGHING. Literally.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I want to hate True Blood, and I just can't. I was curious about some of the attention it was getting and decided to watch the first two episodes this weekend, and yes, the sex is a bit gratuitous to discomfort in a few places, but I actually feel a TON of chemistry between Sookie and Bill---perhaps because the actor/actress are dating in real life. But I actually think it's fantastically written, something Moonlight struggled with in the first few episodes, and even though it will never top moonlight--I consider them two different things--I can see myself watching the entire season of True Blood. I haven't read the books, but as for this being insulting to southern people, the point is that they're in Louisiana, and that state is well-known for it's bayous and "back countries," along with holistics and other strange practices. I'm not from Louisiana, my family is from Kentucky, but I don't really see it as offensive to LA people.

Anyway, I went off on my own little tangent, but I'll probably continue watching TB, unless something happens with it to absolutely disgust me and it forces me to stop watching. But I try not to let my bitterness get in the way of this show, you know? Moonlight had a crappy break and CBS screwed the entire thing up, but at least some show that's different from the norm is making it.